[As a surprise to no one save Team Obama and the land's progressives, Iran has finally done what was expected and told us to go pound sand on the major provisions of the oh-so-hoped-for agreement. gjr]
Indiana’s new law providing for the practice of religious freedom is not really a new law at all, but joined at the hip with bipartisan legislation – Religious Freedom Restoration Act - passed in 1993 and signed by President Clinton. That law clarified and underlined the Constitution’s provision for not letting government define religious preferences and practices. Indiana’s legislation abets what 19 other states already have on their books.
But for me the real question is the freedom to practice what you believe and what is taught by your faith. The Constitution guarantees such freedoms as long as they do not deny others the practice of their equally guaranteed freedoms. And most certainly Indiana’s law will not prevent its LGTB contingent from doing their thing that includes getting supportive services from numerous suppliers who are ready, willing, and able.
Gov Jerry Brown demonstrated to many of us that he has entered his dotage. The man called Sen Ted Cruz “unfit for office” for no other reason than the senator’s rejecting the politicized consensus of manmade global warming to which Moonbeam added that the same scientists now blame current weather events on a roundly rejected long-term prediction that clearly contradicts what we observe daily.
Sgt Bergdahl has been found culpable of desertion in an investigation headed by a two-star general conducted over the last year. A three-star next in line has reviewed the findings and has found them to be sufficient to indict a man who spent five years with the Taliban, and then was retrieved through the release of five raghead combat commanders. We expect him to be court-martialed and sent to Leavenworth for the rest of his life. However, there will be no reprieve for those who gave their lives searching for Bergdahl, and those yet to sacrifice theirs when these commanders are repatriated by the Taliban. The shame of the whole affair lies with our leadership who should have left Bergdahl with his new Muslim comrades to demonstrate his allegiance by either joining their fight or making good his escape.
Well, we have finally led the Saudis from behindto take the initiative and assemble a coalition of ten nations (excluding the US) to strike the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Houthi have driven out the legitimate Yemeni government backed by both the Saudis and touted by Obama as proof positive that his anti-terror policies were working. But when his latest of big lies was exposed by the rapid and unexpected rebel attacks, our Community Organizer in Chief ordered the Marines guarding our embassy in San’a to lay down their weapons in exchange for safe passage high-tailing it out of the country with our diplomatic staff. In days gone by the Marines would have fought to hold the embassy until one of our nearby assault task force units got there to explain the matter to the Houthis. But those days are gone at least until January 2017.
[26mar15 update]Growing hundreds of dollars of almonds for thousands of dollars of water. That is another quiet result of government’s misallocation of water subsidies. That data is presented in Mother Jones (more here). It turns out that in more open and competitive markets resources are automatically allocated so that the cost of the finished products is minimized. But even small subsidies tend to cause major misallocations of such input resources – water in California is an example of that in spades. H/T to reader for this.
The wonders of smartphones. Fred and Margie Buhler make up part of our ‘road warriors’ party. They are known to Nevada County residents for their long years of supporting community causes. Fewer know that they are also expert photogs, and take marvelous pictures on their many travels. Last night Fred emailed me the nearby photo he took a few hours before on a walk here in the Arizona desert. He took it with his new iPhone6, and I was blown away by the result. The actual picture is even better than what you see here since I decimated the resolution for this post, but you get the idea what can be done with the smartphone in your pocket, especially if you know ‘how to paint with light’.
[Well, that was quite an episode in the last sandbox that I hope has run its course, or at least not let that thread of ad hominem exchanges leak out. I see that Sen Ted Cruz will throw his hat in the ring tomorrow, NATO's chief sees continued expansion from Putin that may get out of hand, and Bibi is keeping his powder dry re the farcical negotiations going on with Iran. And our own Bob Crabb is celebrating that Spring has sprung with a change in the business climate hereabouts. gjr]
We are here in Scottsdale again attending the annual conference of the Mercatus Center and Institute for Humane Studies. For the last several years it has been an annual event for us and friends to caravan down and enjoy a few days of exceedingly interesting presentations and workshops on economics and national issues. The conference attracts about three hundred attendees, most of whom are donors to the two organizations connected to George Mason University. What always amazes us is the number of well-read and informed people who also make this their annual pilgrimage for stimulating discussions and debates.
This year’s keynote speakers were PJ O’Rourke and economist Tyler Cowen. PJ was a last minute stand-in for syndicated columnist George Will who had to deal with a family emergency. And everyone got a chance to rub elbows and talk at length with the nationally prominent scholars who do the institutes’ research and present their work here, in scholarly publications, national news media, and in congressional hearings.
In the interval I have not been able to monitor the goings on hereabouts. Looking in on RR, I am more than a bit dismayed over the exchange that has been going on in ‘Sandbox – 11mar15’ during my absence. I notice that RR is again the tromping ground for Mr Jeff Pelline and some of his cohort. And the dialogues such attendance has given rise to are nothing to write home about, let alone memorialize for the ages on the web.
Mr Pelline’s contributions are the indelible derivatives of his nature delivered to raise him to the extent that he can successfully push down those he attacks. As usual, he brings no ideas to discuss or dissect, only ad hominem vituperation. But what continues to puzzle me is that RR readers take the man seriously enough to more than give him the time of day. These readers, who have already established their credentials in debating issues and ideas, actually are seen to engage with Mr Pelline at length and at his level. The resulting mudball fights bring nothing to the large number of this blogs regular, albeit silent, readers. But they do bring out the bitter angels that inhabit a select few of those who oppose Mr Pelline and all that he stands for. My question again is what end is justified by entering into such exchanges at his peerage. Are there not better ways to shorten his pointless visits here?
As I’ve said before, if Pelline’s attacks on RR readers are ignored, then I will delete them as I would flick away any pesky fly. But if his droppings solicit an exchange, then I must conclude that certain RR readers actually enjoy engaging the man. And according to the established sandbox rules (as they now stand), the dialogue can continue. But again, to what end??? Any thoughts on this?
[Am on travel and daily connectivity is iffy. Am very interested in hearing readers' take on what is the definitive yet plausible disclosure about Hillary's emails that would start other Dems coming out of the woodwork to throw their hats into the ring for 2016. So far everything looks like the email thing may become yesterday's newspaper if nothing more is revealed - which to me would be outrageous.]
One of the major RR tenets over the years has been that the voters, those who resonate with the promises and programs promoted by the Left, are more than somewhat stunted in their abilities to comprehend and reason about the issues of the day. Admittedly these issues have become more complex as our world has become more entwined. But the gulf between the understanding of reality and our liberal electorate has grown to yawning proportions. And this does not bode well for our republic.
Recently we saw textbook evidence of this as elitist progressive central planners again characterized their constituencies as being dimwitted, and therefore susceptible to bumbled legislation presented within a bamboozling context. Now the beat continues with two more examples that I believe deserve to be highlighted in order to illuminate this asymmetry.
[So much to think and talk about - Hillary's debacles and scandals and incipient candidacy(?), Kentucky's two senators starting to hug each other, Obama's Iranian bumble, The Fed's prevarication on interest rates and the market's dive, Iran 'advising' Iraqi troops against ISIS (remember, these turkeys fought an eight year war recently), al Sisi, our strongest Arab ally, still waiting for a visit to the White House, ragheads by the thousands all over Africa and Asia pledging allegiance to ISIS, ..., oh my! And yes, Nevada County's plan for economic development is still AWOL.]
Used to be that America was this and not that. We had a predominant culture that was a unique amalgam of the cultures our European immigrants brought with them. Each succeeding wave of newcomers somehow adapted and worked their culture into what was then resident. To be sure, cultural discrimination was already popularly known among the earlier arrivals and their progeny. So the latecomers understood that not every aspect of their native culture would be adopted into the established popular American culture – some parts could, but other parts had to be practiced in homes and private gatherings of the transplanted Poles, Italians, Estonians, … . And that was not a problem.
We don’t do that anymore. Today we have evolved into a politically correct ‘all or none’ mode of public expression of cultures. To be sure, our moral betters have decided that some cultures are more deserving than others, but the overall rule is that if you’re going to permit celebration of one culture anywhere in, on, or near a piece of ground or facility that has received a smidgeon of public money, then you have to be determinedly inclusive, seek out all the minority cultures, and give them equal prominence. Else you will celebrate no culture, including the expressions of what was American culture.
One of the objectives of Agenda21 is cultural neutrality, and 21st century America is taking the lead in showing the world how this is achieved. The latest applications of cultural neutrality are happening in our schools and colleges. And the specific area is the assignment of school holidays for ostensibly religious purposes. It started in our cities in which Christian observances were suppressed and new ones, ranging from celebrating Gaia to Muslim feast days, were promoted. NYC mayor de Blasio has made a name for himself in these pursuits, and now school and college administrators are following suit adding school holidays to celebrate everything from annual equinoxes to the ascension of Baha’u’llah, the founder of Baha’i.
Mandating this kind of cultural homogeneity is much easier than trying to figure out how to teach our students to read, write, and cypher. (America now ranks somewhere down in the high 20s among the world’s developed countries in academic performance.) But then some worthies in the schools’ head sheds stepped back to take a look at the school calendar after all the obligatory and inclusive celebrations were given their due, and sumbich if it didn’t look like there was much room left for actually teaching stuff. Well, not to worry, the elite planners at Harvard figured out the solution – America’s schools don’t need to recognize any holidays for religious, historical, or patriotic purposes. For the A21 crowd that is the best of all, why should different countries celebrate any of their unique heritages, that only serves to discriminate and separate us as residents of Earth. And America shall again show the way to universal inclusivity by continuing to aggressively smooth out any cultural ripples that are left in the land. (more here)
IWD was launched in 1917 by the American Socialist Party to oppose the war and support nascent communist movements across Europe. Their message of ‘bread and peace' was later attributed by Leon Trotsky as the real start of the communist and socialist revolutions. The underlying message to attract ideologically vanilla people was social justice for women, it’s upshot being that under socialism women would do better and be more equal than under capitalism.
Well, it hasn’t turned out to be that way despite that the IWD celebrations to this day continue spreading the lies that launched the movement. A. Davies and J. Harrigan write (‘For Gender Equality, You Can’t Beat Capitalism’) that “socialist leaders used International Women’s Day ostensibly to highlight their commitment to gender equity. Yet contrary to its socialist origins, more than 100 years of evidence since the first International Women’s Day suggests that free markets are the single best solution to inequity, gender or otherwise.”
I think Union publisher Jim Hemig gets it. This morning’s (6mar15) Union has another piece by Hemig in which he supports the 12may15 presentation to our Board of Supervisors on the movement to create the new State of Jefferson. After some pretty deep heel marks on the floor, the persistent efforts of Mr Eddie Garcia and Nevada County’s SoJ Steering Committee paid off. Supervisor Ed Scofield, the Board’s new chairman, had the wherewithal to convince some of his more recalcitrant colleagues to sit still and hear what all norCal’s SoJ fuss has been about from the involved people creating the fuss. (Full disclosure: Jo Ann and I are supporters of the SoJ movement and the effort in Nevada County.)
The county’s Right is still a bit confused about SoJ, and our leftwing neighbors are turning purple at the thought of anyone opposing socialist Sacramento. A reasoned presentation to the Board that is accurately covered by our local media should clear the air and let people get informed on the facts of the matter. After that let the debate continue with all the gusto that such a question deserves.
But what again is illustrating the difference between our local collectivists and conservatives is that the Left opposes SoJ on their bedrock principle of a cohesive state – specifically, if you are different or have different ideas than promoted by the state, then keep them to yourself, else you will be accused of polarizing our community. In short, the politically correct deportment of a good citizen and their well-behaved electeds is to go along to get along with what the state’s majority has installed in Sacramento.
What our Left does not want to understand is that there are still a sizeable number of people in this state who want nothing to do with the groupthink of socialism that now permeates our government and schools. I am one of those who would not want my silence to be mistaken for agreement with the powers that be and their local chorus seeking to infect us with their ‘San Francisco values’. The success of these progressives is very much abetted by certain of our elected leaders who like us to see them as middle roaders or a bit right of center but still moderate. They speak to those of us who don’t understand the intricate realities of governance from that unassailable pedestal of pragmatic reason on which is inscribed ‘Since we are powerless, what else can we do?’
[This is the addended transcript of my regular KVMR commentary that was broadcast on 4 March 2015.]
The rural counties of America are in economic doldrums. Whatever recovery that is enjoyed in the populated urban areas is not trickling down very fast to the less populated counties located in our mountains and deserts. Today the economies of these communities, that formerly included mining and timber industries along with robust farming and ranching enterprises, are suffering. Moreover, the damage to these regions has come not only from the national economic malaise, but is impacted even more by the relentless march of irrational environmental zealotry.
The regional sovereignty that these counties had in their own affairs is no more. In the nation’s statehouses the representatives of the populous urban centers rule, and they rule with little understanding or appreciation of the unique lifestyles and requirements for commerce and wealth creation in the less populated areas. No state is more afflicted with this syndrome than California.
This may herald the start of a series of doctrinaire posts that outline the application of my Conservetarian Credo to specific public policy conundra. To date these have been marbled into a more difficult to search series of RR commentaries. Here is my policy for how to handle the grossly misnamed ‘illegal immigration’ issue that today vexes our federal and state governments. Its hoped for resolution would relieve a cohort of the 11M long-resident illegal aliens in the country, perhaps limited to those whose children were born here and have subsequently been granted US citizenship.
1. Congress shall legislate a path to legal residency that takes into account the alien’s history of illegal ingress, conduct while here as a fugitive, and their US citizen offspring. This path will be at least five years of probationary duration during which the alien will be required to become proficient in English and demonstrate a knowledge of American civics equivalent to that required of legal immigrants on the path to citizenship.
2. Before the legal residency provisions of the law take effect, the law will require that the Mexican-American border will have been sealed to a demonstrated and sustainable configuration that permits a maximum illegal ingress rate of less than 5,000 aliens per year.
3. The new law will require the voluntary registration of illegals who apply for dispensation under its provisions within a time window certain of no more than six months in duration. Upon registration, the illegal alien will immediately be given the right to work and pay taxes, as any other legal resident of the US, for the duration of his probationary period. Congress shall include other provisions that may involve the receipt of government benefits and performance of resident obligations as they see fit.
4. All illegals who are granted legal residency in perpetuum under this law will renounce now and forever their rights, ability, and intention of becoming citizens of the United States, and therefore voting in any of its elections.
5. All illegal aliens not qualifying under this law and conforming to it during their probationary period will remain in their status as illegal aliens to be pursued and prosecuted to the full extent of the immigration and criminal laws of the United States.
6. This law will include a proviso clearly stating that henceforth offspring of illegal aliens and legal visitors born in the United States will no longer automatically become American citizens, but will be subject to the provisions of the federal immigration law.
[New month - March already!! - deserves a new sandbox. Upcoming happenings include Netanyahu's speech to Congress Tuesday, and the progress of demonstrations in Russia protesting Nemtsov's death and Putin's response. In the meanwhile Islamists continue to gleefully acquire new territories and people, in the US our chief of intelligence warns of the highest danger from Islamic terror, while Obama's embalmed SecState assures us and the west that we have never been safer. In Teheran they are laughing their asses off, while here our polarized poles are finding ever more reasons why the twain shall never meet. The last great century in full swing. gjr]